How Deep is Your Love? How Full is Your Life? What Colour is Your Parachute?

Nan started the ball rolling by charting her own life against a "The 50 Ways to Live Life to the Full" list from the Daily Mail site; Nicole did it too. I just looked at the actual site and realized I was laboring under a misconception; I thought that some editors or columnists had compiled the list, which reads as incredibly skewed towards privileged, neurotypical, able-bodied (but probably overweight) people. It turns out the list was actually generated from a survey of 2000 adults - presumably mostly privileged, neurotypical, able-bodied mostly overweight adults, but it still lessens my ability to be snarkily contemptuous of whoever wrote the article. And hey, we all know I love a good meme, especially on a baseball night. And what if there's an easy way to live life to the full (is that even grammatically correct? Is that a British-ism? It bugs me) and I'm missing it? That would suck.

1. Stop worrying about money

Okay. Do you think the grocery store takes Pokemon cards?

2. Stop worrying about what other people think

I would. Except for that thing where sometimes I think I'm a worthless pile of monkey-snot and then my friends tell me I'm actually quite nice and fairly intelligent and even fun to have around. Am I just supposed to disregard what other people think if it's bad? Look, if my ass looks huge I want to hear about it. It's not like I can look at my own ass.

3. Take two holidays a year

I go to visit Zarah every fall. I'm going to Toronto to see Book of Mormon in a couple of weeks. I think I'm going to Blissdom next October. I'm nothing BUT holidays, baby.

4. Enjoy little comforts in life

Pam and I picked up warm tortillas from Lone Star today, plus filled her trunk with booze. Also, sometimes I don't buy recycled toilet paper.

5. Experience different cultures

Uh... I love curry. The kids and I learned an aboriginal dance at Turtle Island. Eve did Irish dance, but she said it was "really really boring - you just keep doing the same thing over and over again". I saw a Japanese ballet once and didn't hate it. My husband ate horse sashimi and didn't barf. Actually, he travels all over the world - can I just let him experience the different cultures?

6. Work to live rather than live to work

But what if you love your job? Then working IS living because you're doing what you love. And who the heck works like crazy if they DON'T love their job? Oh, wait, my husband, because I'm a neurotic drain on the family resources. Move along, nothing to see here.

7. Pay off all debts

Uh, how do we do that without worrying about money? We paid off our mortgage early, but that was because we were sitting on a buttload of stock options and decided to invest some in our house when Angus was born instead of getting greedy and hoping they'd go up more. It turned out to be a sound decision (hear the sound of the tech bubble bursting ten-ish years ago? It was right after we paid off our mortgage). 

8. Be true to yourself

And false to everyone else? Seriously, what does this even mean? 

9. Concentrate on what you have instead of what you don't have

This one's not bad. Unless what you don't have is a job. Or a liver. Or a sense of humour. Then concentrate on what you don't have.

10. Use money on experiences rather than saving for a rainy day

This kind of reminds of when I saw Tommy Lee on American Idol, saying in a stupefied monotone "You just hafta decide whether you're gonna go with your heart or your gut, and I always go with my gut", and I thought "Wait, isn't it supposed to be the heart or the HEAD?" If this one had said "use money on experiences rather than stuff", I might have been inclined to agree, but saving for a rainy day, as in "a day when life rains down job loss, car trouble, catastrophic furnace failure or catastrophically bad dental genes" is also crucial.

11. Make time for family and friends

I do. Then again, I don't have a full time job. Maybe if you do, you're perfectly justified in only making time for Patrick Dempsey and Idris Elba in your off hours.

12. Try all types of food

Nah. I'm forty-two. I'm pretty confirmed in what kind of food I find enjoyable. I don't consider having to suppress my gag reflex necessary in living life to the fullest.

13. Find true love

I already mentioned Idris Elba. Oh wait, my husband? Yeah, he's great too.

14. Travel to at least 25 different foreign countries

The U.S., Cuba, Jamaica, England, Germany, France, Morocco. Huh. My husband's been to China, Japan, Singapore and Australia. That's still only eleven! Cripes, what is this, living your life to the fullest while being a fugitive chased by Interpol?

15. Go outside more

Yeah, okay, I guess. I have allergies and walking on the ice hurts my back and my anxiety. I have to sit and watch Eve's team's excruciatingly bad softball games once a week. Feeling like my life is fuller already.

16. Learn a new language

I learned French in school, beginner's German in university, and last year I learned MARC programming. Eve's well on her way: The other day she came in and said "Bongiorno, Maman". Matt said "any more languages you'd like to tack on there?" and she said "Sarcasm?"

17. Be well thought of by family and friends

So, develop the ability to control people's minds? Sounds fun, I'm on it. You love this blog! Tell all your friends!

18. Help a member of your family out when they really need it

My mom can't figure out the library hold system, so I request her books for her, pick them up and deliver them to her. Plus I gave her my kidney that one time. No I didn't. What if they don't really need my help? Am I supposed to precipitate a crisis just so I can leap in and save the day? Oops, sorry I broke your leg. Let me fetch you some tea!

19. Lose a stone in weight

Nicole informs me that a stone in fourteen pounds. This is a pretty specific one. I have, in fact, recently lost almost a stone (twelve pounds). It was indeed an intoxicating experience. In fact, I enjoyed losing that last two pounds so much that I've done it two or three times. But this is sort of oddly specific and kind of sad - obviously everyone shouldn't be losing fourteen pounds, and the notion that losing fourteen pounds would mean living your life to the fullest sounds like a failure of imagination to me.

20. Treat each day like it's your last

So, down a bottle of tequila, kiss my children a tearful goodbye, and track down and force-kiss Eliot from Leverage? I'm not sure this is sound advice. 

21. Visit all of Britain's historical landmarks

But this is for British people, right? So am I supposed to visit all of Canada's historical landmarks? Enh, Canada's not that old. Shouldn't be hard.

22. Book an impulsive last minute holiday

Ha. This goes along with "live every day like it's your last", right? Because if I booked an impulsive last-minute holiday it WOULD be my last day, because I'd die of anxiety. 

23. Volunteer for a good cause

I'm at my kids' school every second damned day. Do you have any idea how many books would go unshelved if not for me? I spent nine hours on my feet for Word on the Street one year even though I had to CALL someone I didn't actually know on the PHONE in order to volunteer - actually I'm not sure Word on the Street has been held in Ottawa since; hope I wasn't directly responsible. I work the barbecue at baseball tournaments. I keep trying to give blood, but nobody wants mine. 

24. Take up a challenge

I submitted blog posts for Blogging Out Loud Ottawa. Twice. I thought THAT was enough of a challenge, but when they actually went ahead and picked me to then read said posts out loud, in front of people, I did that too. Introvert. Anxiety. You do the math. Hmm, I don't think Lynn is holding Blogging Out Loud this year. Hope I wasn't directly responsible. I think challenging yourself on a fairly regular basis is actually instrumental in living a full life. I think periodically eating ice cream and watching Luther and leaving the challenging stuff to other folks is also instrumental in living a full life.

25. Go on safari

Huh? Pass.

26. Blow a load of money in one shopping trip, just because you can

I was about to storm off in a huff, but then I remembered that when Angus was about six months old and Matt and I hadn't been anywhere for months, we left him with my parents and went downtown to the Rideau Centre. We bought Matt some badly-needed new business clothes and we bought me sexy black boots and a dress which he then made me change into behind our truck in the parking garage. We went out for dinner and our credit card was declined, so we paid with our debit card. When we got home and called the credit card company they said they had just been concerned because of the unusual activity on the card. We burst out laughing, high-fived each other and said "We stole our own credit card!"

27. Learn a new instrument

I learned piano. For me it was great. For some people? Not learning an instrument is just a kindness to the world.

28. Be married for longer than 20 years

Seventeen and counting for me, but way to piss off those single people that are already pissed off with everything being targeted at married people. 

29. Have enough money left for the grandchildren to enjoy

Who says I'm going to have any? Won't I look silly if I have all this money left and no grandchildren? 

30. Start a family

Again, works for me, but not for everybody. 

31. Earn more than your age

Forty-two? Forty-two what? Forty-two dollars? Got that covered by the stuff I've sold to the consignment store, although I guess technically those clothes were paid for by my husband's earnings, so it's not really mine. Forty-two thousand dollars? Pretty sure that even if I get a library tech job, that ain't gonna happen. Forty-two outsized compliments from my children about how beautiful I am, how fabulous at ordering baseball hats online, how marvellous at cooking curried chicken? Now we're talking. 

32. Have a pet

Remember how I killed Eve's fish? And her hermit crab? And her best friend's bird? I don't think any more of God's creatures should have to give their lives so I can live mine more fully. 

33. Drive a really fast car

I did. It sucked.

34. Travel alone

I did. It rocked. 

35. Be able to keep the kids on the straight and narrow

Straight and narrow? Wouldn't it be more badass to set them on the crooked and wide?

36. Meet strangers

I do. Constantly. Strangers love me. I help them find salt. I tell them how to eat a kiwi. I help them work the parking machine. And stuff like this. I agree - being open to meeting and interacting with strangers makes for a fuller life. 

37. Move away from home to an unfamiliar place


38. Have a one night stand

Done. Back in university. In a half-hearted, Catholic kind of way. I'm counting it!

39. Pass your driving test

Took me a couple of tries. Goddamn, most of you didn't know that, did you?

40. Get a degree

Got two. Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Comparative Literature. That and four more years of one course at a time of Library and Information Technology might get me a job some day.

41. Rescue someone so that you're a hero for a little while

I rescue someone whenever I'm able. Sometimes I let other people rescue me too. Usually Pam.

42. Date someone exciting but completely wrong for you

I'm trying, but Eliot from Leverage has really good lawyers.

43. Get a promotion

I'll talk to the library tech I volunteer for and see if she'll bump me up to "EXTRA SPECIAL unpaid volunteer".

44. Reach the desired career peak by age 40

Well how do you know my desired career peak WASN'T the kind of job where you can wear yoga pants and have playdough in your hair and as long as all the kids are alive at the end of the day it's a win?

45. Have an all-night drinking session

Okay. They're fun. (Wow, the people who answered this survey don't get out a whole lot, do they?)

46. Perform something on stage in front of others

Blogging out Loud. And in university my girlfriend and I prepared and presented two scenes from Ionesco absurdist plays at an annual French Bistro night. It was really fun. Oh, plus, my other language was in play? Do I get double points?

47. Snog a stranger

In grade thirteen my girlfriend and I somehow got drafted to volunteer to work concession at a Beach Boys concert in Sudbury. Somewhat surprisingly, I had a blast. I wore my sister's navy blue tank top (which if you look at us now would make you HOWL with laughter, or dismay, or something) and a khaki skirt, and I had a bit of a tan, and I felt pretty, and all the male attention I got seemed sort of innocent and sweet rather slobbery and gross. At the end when the concession was closed, we were walking towards the stadium to watch the last bit of the concert, and a group of guys was walking towards us. One of them, as he was walking towards me, said "no, seriously, you and me?" and he grabbed me and kissed me on the mouth and then let me go and kept walking. Many things told me then and tell me now that I should have been outraged and offended, but I wasn't. It just didn't have that feeling to it. Then there was that New Year's Eve in Saskatchewan, but that was less wholesome and let's just leave that be, shall we?

48. Plan a surprise party

Our best surprise party effort was for the same girlfriend I worked concession with. It was her birthday in grade ten or eleven. We switched her locker lock with my other girlfriend's so she wouldn't be able to open her locker and would miss her bus, which left before ours. We told her to come home with us and the other friend's mother would drive her home, then the party was at my friend's house. She was very impressed, and not at all pissed that we had made her think she was insane or amnesic, as, now that I think about it, some people might have been.

49. Embark on adrenaline packed activities such as sky diving or bungee jumping

....or talking to other parents when you pick up your kids at school! Or parking when there isn't a double space available! Whatever. I've gone ziplining. I know what's more adrenaline-packed for me.

50. Spend time with children, even if they're not your own. 

Or especially. Kids usually behave better for people who aren't their parents. Hey, let's all trade kids!


So, I score.... call it thirty-one and a half. If my life was any fuller, I'd probably have trouble carrying it. 


Hannah said…
LOVE IT. This made me laugh. And I feel like I know a lot more about you, now. Well done!
Nicole said…
I laughed so many times reading this; it's great. I love it. Let's do memes more, because they are fun. Number 22, that would be me as well.
Nicole said…
I can't even comment properly because there is too much to comment on.
Pam said…
Brilliantly awesome as usual, you bad-ass-full-life-livin' goddess! Exactly what I needed tonight so you are my hero.
Julie said…
1. How about stop breathing?

7. You don't have a mortgage? I'm going to be 82 when we pay of ours.

9. Impossible. I'm convinced its the glue that keeps me together.

14. 16, not bad!

15. Seriously? this needed to be there?

20. But then how could I not worry about money?

25. No safari for you? When we pay off the mortage I'm hoping there are still some wild animals out there. Somewhere. not holding my breath though.

26. Again, they are sending some very mixed messages here. I am getting more confused.

29. not a chance! I'm working my ass off for the money I can scrape together. It's all mine!

39. took me 3 times

44. Really? then I've failed!

47. i played rugby and got drunk a lot.

50. there was no 50! How do I know if I am living my life to the fullEST if there is no number 50!
Sasha said…
OMG, I haven't even read this yet and I'm excited. Guess what I'll be doing in the airport!!!!
Sasha said…
1) No. I could say more, but I'm going to save it for my post (gasp!)

2) So it sounds like you need to stop worrying what YOU think. WE think you're awesome. (Again, more to say, but I'll save it).

4) Now I feel bad for never buying recycled tp.

5) OMG - the aboriginal dance thing - how do you arrange that? My kids would love it.

7) Remind me to talk to you the next time I have options that are worth anything (in my own defense: by the time they vested was after the bubble burst)

8) *snort*

9) more snorting. Does that mean I have a sense of humour? I don't mind concentrating on that.

11 & 13) Who is Idris Elba? (Yes, I'd rather display my ignorance than google it)

14) More giggles. Should I skip the giggles? Just take it as read that any time I'm not snorting, I'm giggling. You're too funny.

19) OK, I have to mention the giggling at the 2 or 3 times comment. Also? I so hear ya.

21) Also? Most of Canada's historical landmarks ARE British. The rest serve poutine.

Ok, I have to use that in my post too.

26) Love this story!!!!

27-49) more snorting. I'd have more to say but I'm at work and I have to go home now :)
StephLove said…
#14 made me laugh out loud.

Also, I bet earning your age is in pounds. That would make it even more difficult.
StephLove said…
In thousand of pounds, I mean.
Sasha said…
Wrath Of Mom said…
"I'm trying, but Eliot from Leverage has really good lawyers." -- HAHAHAHA! Brilliantly done.
moosilaneous said…
Love it.
I can totally relate to the terrors of interacting with ACK! other children's parents. Avoiding after school pick up is pretty much the main reason for my job search.
Hang in there!
Maggie said…
I just had to say that I'm more than willing to make time for Idris Elba in my off hours, and my on hours, and, well basically, during any of my hours (sorry husband...)
Magpie said…
i'm exhausted reading this. but intrigued. and like nicole said, too much to comment on.
Shan said…
This is the best! Also I wish the grocery store took Pokemon cards. We have a buttload of those and I have no idea what their function is.
Unknown said…
Oh man! This cracked me up. So, so good. But you know you how you just wrote a post about your envy of Nicole's thinness. You're worse than a thin person -- you're a person with a no mortgage. Gawd, I'm hoping I can still be decent to you now that I know this. ;)

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